Experts’ picks for Lions widespread in latest mock drafts

Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown has emerged as one of the more popular projections for the Lions.

John Rieger

On the night of April 30th, the Detroit Lions, barring a trade, will be on the clock with the 23rd pick overall in the NFL Draft.

That’s right, the draft is just 13 days away, which means mock drafts are starting to take shape. The guesses are becoming a little more educated as the big day approaches.

A consensus certainly is unrealistic for a pick that low, but Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown has emerged as one of the more popular projections.

Otherwise, there are still widespread opinions on who the Lions might take, from offensive tackles to defensive tackles to cornerbacks.

Here’s a sampling of 10 recently updated mock drafts:

— Peter Schrager, FOX Sports.

Pick: Cornerback Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

Comment: "The Lions haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since 1998 (Terry Fair), but they could this year if Johnson slips out of the top 20. A talented 6-foot, 190-pound cover corner, he went through position drills at his Pro Day a few weeks back and got rave reviews. He never missed a game at Wake and handled some of the nation’s best wide receivers."

— Charles Davis, NFL Network.

Pick: Brown.

Comment: "With the Lions essentially starting over at defensive tackle, Brown becomes a good running mate for recently acquired All-Pro Haloti Ngata."

Note: Davis previously was projecting Brown to the New York Giants with the ninth pick overall.

— Don Banks, Sports Illustrated.

Pick: Brown.

Comment: "Even with some quality offensive line prospects still on the board, I can’t see the Lions passing on Brown, who can help veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata ease the Lions’ transition from Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the defensive interior. Brown in Motown. Makes sense."

Note: Banks added that the "next best available option" would be Florida State offensive lineman Cameron Erving.

— Eric Edholm, YAHOO.

Pick: Brown.

Comment: "Tyrunn Walker (signed as a free agent by the Lions) is an intriguing addition, but he has always been a sub-package player, and 2014 fifth-rounder Caraun Reid isn’t proven yet. Declining Haloti Ngata is a free agent after (this coming) season, and the Lions can’t pass up a good player such as Brown here. Yes, Lions GM Martin Mayhew adheres to a best-player-available approach, but tie goes to the biggest need. Brown can collapse a pocket and add good support to a position inside, having lost both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley this offseason."

— Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN

Pick: Offensive tackle La’el Collins, LSU

Comment: "The Lions simply can’t take full advantage of the weapons they have on offense if they don’t improve up front, and Collins can be an immediate help. I think he can play tackle, but he could also become an immediate upgrade at left guard. He’s one of the most dominant run blockers in the draft over the past few seasons."

— Brian Baldinger, NFL Network

Pick: Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, Miami, Fla.

Comment: Baldinger called Flowers "talented but raw," while adding that he has a "tremendous upside," is an "immediate-impact player" and "can be a dynamic player for years to come."

— Charley Casserly, NFL Network

Pick: Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma.

Comment: "Despite the addition of Haloti Ngata, the Lions still need another defensive tackle."

— Pete Prisco, CBS

Pick: Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, Florida

Comment: "I know they need help on defense, but this would be a heck of a pick. Humphries is a rising player who has a lot of athletic ability."

— Dane Brugler, CBS

Pick: Offensive tackle Andrus Peat, Stanford.

Comment: "The Lions have a few stopgap options at right tackle (LaAdrian Waddle and Cornelius Lucas, both undrafted players), but Peat is arguably the top offensive tackle in this draft class. Stability (Peat) is better than serviceable (current right tackle situation)."

— Nate Davis, USA TODAY.

Pick: Cornerback Jalen Collins, LSU.

Comment: "With the top tailbacks (Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley) off the board, Detroit turns to a corner who’s long on physical gifts if short on reps. Developing talented guys who can cover always makes sense in a division where so many balls are in the air."